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Out of the Sun

Monday, 15th December 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

bird tablesparrowhawkJust after lunchtime is when we get the best light on the bird table at this time of year: a strong sidelight from the direction of a large oak at the edge of the field.

The local sparrowhawk seems to know this too: it swoops down on the bird table directly out of the sun. As luck would have it, no birds are feeding and the sparrowhawk stalls, by spreading wings and tail, a few feet from the table and flies off over next door's garden, keeping the sun behind it as it goes.

sparrowsparrowsparrowsparrowI decide to finish the last spreads of my large sketchbook - which I've had on the go for a year - by drawing the house sparrows and the blackbird and dunnock which join them.

male sparrowfemale sparrowfemale sparrowSparrows tend to gather in the safety of the hawthorn hedge before one of their number decides to go and perch on one of the feeders. Soon two or three are will join it. Because there were rats about earlier in the autumn we've only just resumed feeding. The sparrows have had to learn to use the plastic feeders all over again.

sparrow sparrow sparrow
sparrow sparrow sparrows sparrow

Blackbird and Dunnock

blackbirdblackbirdThe blackbird swoops in with a flourish of wings and downspread tail to land on the bird table itself (they never even attempt to use the feeders). A dramatic entrance that reminds me of some caped crusader such as Zorro, careering in, sending off the sparrows as it lands.

dunnockDunnocks, also known as hedge sparrows but not, in fact, related to house sparrows, rarely, if ever, visit the table but diligently search the flowerbed and patio at the foot of it. next page

Richard Bell

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